EKA-KRITHI RAGAS: RAGAM HAMSA BHRAMARI – JANYA OF MELA (58) RAGAM HEMAVATHI

Hamsa bhramari is a very rare and unpopular janya raga of mela ragam (58) Hemavathi (Deshisimharavam in Dikshithar system). Though ragam Hemavathi is the prathimadhyama raga of Kharaharapriya, one of the most popular ragas sharing the top position in the number of janyas along with Harikambhoji, it is not much popular and none of its janyas is also heard much. This raga is alive because of the Thyagaraja (?) krithi, ‘Paripurna kama’. There are few more compositions found written later, but none of them being popular.

This raga, Hamsabhramari, carries all the notes of the janaka raga, Hemavathi, except N2 in the arohanam; the notes can be seen as:

S R2 G2 M2 P D2 S // S N2 D2 P M2 G2 R2 S

Ragapravaham also confirms the same structure, under mela (58). The very close resemblance between the janaka and the janya ragas results in a very close similarity when both are heard. This raga (and the Thygaraja krithi, ‘Paripurna kama’) was a favourite of the famous Nagaswaram vidwan, Sri. T.N.Rajaratnam Pillai. The raga has been used by Sri. Papanasan Sivan in the song ‘Chidambaranatha Thiruvarul’ in the film Thiruneelakantar, (which also has an appearance by Sri.Rajaratnam Pillai, it is heard). Sri. Sivan may have used the raga as a tribute to Sri. TNR.

Compositions:

Paripoorna kaama sarileni -Thyagaraja

Paripurananni pada sevaname - Pallavur Mani Iyer

Padmanabham bhajare - Parameshwara Bhagavatar

Paramatmane pashupate - Muthiah Bhagavatar

Tarunam ide karunanidhe – Arindarkkiniyanar

Ni pada sevaname - Pallavur Mani Iyer

Munnam dishai mukhanai padaittava (tv) – Paripuranan

Though the composition, ‘Paripurna kama’ is said to be by Thyagaraja, musicologists and experts do not believe the same. They have come to this conclusion because this kriti does not conform to Thyagaraja's style of composing. It also differ from the type of grammar used by Thyagaraja in his compositions. According to them, Thyagaraja 's musical compositions exerted considerable dominance in Carnatic music thereby influencing some skillful composers to use the ragas of Thyagaraja's kritis for their own lyrics. Thyagaraja is considered to be the most popular vaggeyakara in Carnatic music. In music concerts one can hear his kritis being rendered more often than other composers. He continues to have a large following of admirers. True to the quote "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", some later composers plagiarized his style, and in an attempt to get their compositions accepted and popularized, even tagged Thyagaraja 's name (mudra) onto their compositions. Prof. P Sambhamurthy - a noted scholar and musicologist has termed these imitation kritis "prakshipta" meaning not authentic or spurious.

Now we come to the discussion section, we take the Thyagaraja krithi ‘paripurna kama’. In this krithi, Sadguru prays to the Lord to give him refuge.

“O Lord who has no desires (left to be fulfilled)!

O Lord who is peerless!

O Bearer of mandara mountain!

O Friend of sugrIva!

O Sun and Moon Eyed!

O Wish-tree of the devotees!

O Lord in whose Holy Feet great ascetics seek refuge!

O Protector of those who have sought refuge in You!

O Lord whose Lotus face resembles the autumnal moon!

O Bestower of Boons!

O Lord praised by this tyAgarAja!

Please give me refuge. Deign to govern me”.

We shall listen to Sri. Susarla Sivaram’s rendition of this rare composition. (Sri Susarla Sivaram (Late) was a Great Musician and an excellent teacher from Andhra pradesh. He belonged to the Thyagaraja parampara. His grand father Susarla Dakshina Murthy was a disciple of Manabuchavadi Venkata Subbaier. Few of his famous students are Sri D Raghavachari(Hyd Bros) , Smt Amruthavalli Sundaram, Sundari Janakiraman etc).


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